Have your eyes on a new mobile phone but just can’t bring yourself to shell out the money?

If you’re a Sprint customer in the United States, you might not have to
think twice thanks to Sprint’s new Certified Pre-owned (CPO) Device

The program offers customers who want a better device but don’t want to pay full price for it the ability to purchase a used device that has been inspected according to a “30-plus point quality checklist“, reset to factory defaults, reconditioned if necessary and is backed by a 30-day return policy.

Initially, three devices — the BlackBerry Tour, Samsung Reclaim and Sanyo 2700 — are available under Sprint’s CPO program. The latter two phones can be had for nothing with a two year contract.

Sprint’s CPO program follows the lead of the United States auto industry, which is largely responsible for the popularization of the CPO model. In the United States, this model has been a hit for auto manufacturers, who pitch certified pre-owned vehicles as a middle-ground between buying used and buying new. Because CPO vehicles are inspected, reconditioned and typically come with a warranty, dealers are able to sell them at a premium.

Of course, selling refurbished mobiles is nothing new. Other carriers, such as AT&T, do it. But Sprint appears to be the first attempting to sell used devices under the CPO moniker.

While Sprint is promoting its new CPO program as part of its “aggressive reuse and recycling collection goals,” the company is also obviously looking to profit from the model as auto manufacturers have, albeit in a different way. While some of us may not be able to live without the latest mobile technology, the truth is that smartphones (and messaging-oriented mobiles) are still seen by some as being too expensive. By offering CPO smartphones and messaging-oriented mobiles that cost less than they would if bought new but which are marketed as being better than simply ‘used‘, Sprint may be able to attract a few new data plan customers. These plans, of course, are increasingly the bread and butter for carriers.

While it remains to be seen whether or not Sprint’s CPO program will take off, and whether other carriers will follow in its footsteps (certified used iPhones on AT&T anyone?), it is clear that one way or another, carriers are working to put more advanced mobiles in the hands of a greater number of consumers. For everyone in the mobile ecosystem, that should be good news, even if a 30 point inspection of used mobile devices is the latest and greatest industry marketing fluff.

Photo credit: MRBECK via Flickr.